Tips to prepare for XAT Verbal Ability Section

XAT-2016 is roughly 20 days away and this is the time for you to fine
tune your preparation for the exam. In this article, we explore the Verbal
Ability section of the exam and understand what specifically needs to be done
for the section. Before we do that, let’s understand the break-up of the exam
last year.

The break-up for the Verbal Ability section last year was as follows:

Sentence Completion: 2 questions

Vocabulary Based Questions: 2

Para-jumbles: 2 questions

Para-Completion: 2 questions

Critical Reasoning: 1 question

Verbal Reasoning: 1 question

Paragraph Summary: 1 question

Reading Comprehensions: 5
passages, 18 questions

XAT places a strong emphasis on reasoning and reading skills and this
can be inferred from the above break-up. Most of the questions in the exam last
year either belonged to Verbal Reasoning or Reading Comprehensions. Generally,
XAT exams feature some Grammar questions but this area was absent from the exam
last year.

A closer look at the above pattern provides us the following key

The exam has a heavy emphasis on reasoning. The
Reading Comprehensions in the exam also feature quite a significant number of
inference based questions.

There is no escape from Reading Comprehensions
in the exam.

You can expect a diverse set of questions in the

The Verbal section, with the amount of reading
material and inference based questions, requires time to complete. Unlike NMAT
and SNAP, there are no direct vocabulary questions in the exam and this means
that the section takes up a significant chunk of your time in the exam.

In terms of the amount of time you are expected to spend on the
section, you would have around 50 to 60 minutes for the Verbal section this
year. The overall time limit for the exam is increased to 170 minutes and this
means that you will have a greater amount of time for all the sections.
Depending on the fact whether Verbal Ability is your strong or weak area, you
can allocate more or less time to it.

Area-wise Analysis for the Exam

Now that we have covered the basics for the XAT Verbal section, let’s
look at the challenges posed by the individual areas in the exam.

Variety in Vocabulary Questions:

XAT does not ask direct vocabulary questions and even a simple question
type such as fill in the blanks sees some modification. Have a look at the
following question:

Identify the correct sequence of
words that aptly fit the blanks in the following passage.

It is____(i)____that the accused
had____(ii) _________(iii) ______ from all criminal activities by adopting
the____(iv)____of a sanyasi. However, despite repeated requests from the
counsel for prosecution, the court has____(v)____a lie detector to ascertain
the truth.

A.   (i) inferred, (ii) feigned, (iii)
separation, (iv) deportment, (v) prescribed

B.   (i) inferred, (ii) forged, (iii) parting,
(iv) deportment, (v) proscribed

C.  (i) implied, (ii) faked, (iii) separation,
(iv) demeanour, (v) proscribed

D.  (ij implied, (ii) feigned, (iii) separation,
(iv) demeanour, (v) prescribed

E.  (i) inferred, (ii) faked, (iii) cessation,
(iv) deportment, (v) proscribed

Answer: (C)

The above question has been transformed into a tougher problem by
virtue of the multiple blanks that feature in the question. Also, some of the
options feature confusing words and this means that a combination of skills is
required to mark the correct answer. The trick is/in these questions is to
carefully analyse the options and identify the words that perfectly fit some of
the given blanks. Once you have done that, you can use option elimination to
identify the correct answer.

For XAT vocabulary questions, make sure you revise the word lists you
have learnt till now, place focus on usage and also go through the list of
commonly confusing words.

Reasoning Questions:

Along with the regular Verbal Reasoning questions (Para-jumbles,
Para-completion, Paragraph Summary), XAT also features some unique reasoning
question types. Go through the following question:

Read the following statements

Statement 1: If you want to
understand the causes that existed in the past, look at the results as they are
manifested in the present.

Statement 2: Murali did not work
as hard as his friends but had secured 1 st rank in the examination.

Which of the following options is
correct with respect to the above two statements?

A. If Statement 2 is right,
Statement 1 is invalid.

B. Statement 1 and Statement 2
are contradictory to each other.

C. Statement 2 supplements
Statement 1.

D.  Statement 2 is a rare occurrence and hence

E. Statement 1 will hold true
even if Statement 2 is valid.

Answer: (E)

This question type is not something that you will find in your
conventional VA-RC books and is something that is unique to the exam. For
preparation of more such question types, go through previous year XAT exams
(XAT-2008 to XAT-2015). These will offer you the best practice material for
these question types. Along with these, also make sure you revise topics such
as Para-jumbles, Para-completion, Paragraph Summary and Critical


XAT-2015 featured a variety of RC passages with focus on management and
business related passages. The psychological aspects of business were also
explored in these passages. Also, XAT RCs feature application based questions,
which are indirectly based on the main ideas of the passage and ask you to
extrapolate the same for some situation. Also, some passages do feature
questions on the RC main idea and structure. You should generally try to answer
these questions as these are based on overall understanding and not on
specifics of the passage.

Overall, the level of RCs is quite challenging and you should practice
well for these. CAT passages from the years 2004-2008 form good practice
material for XAT RCs. Also, make sure you solve all previous year XAT questions
in order to understand the nature and thinking of XAT question setters.

Final Tips for the Exam:

Based on the analysis above, these are some of things you should keep
in mind:

Avoid RC questions at the start of the Verbal
section. Start with non-RC questions that you can solve in a short period of
time and thereby, save some extra time in the exam.

B. Question
types that you have not experienced before should not be solved first. Get back
to these once you have solved the conventional questions in the section.

C. You
do not have to solve all the questions in a particular RC. Try to solve some
questions from the passages given. Some of the problems in XAT RCs can be very
challenging and it is best to leave them. Do not get trapped in thinking that
you have invested time and therefore you will solve all the questions in the
given section.

Solve all previous year XAT question papers. XAT
2008 to 2015 question papers are easily available.  

This completes this analysis piece for XAT Verbal Ability. Use the
points highlighted above to fine tune your preparation.